The province of Aurora is not just about the surfing capital of the eastern central part of Luzon, Baler, but there is also this one growing municipality that is worth visiting, Dingalan.
Dingalan /Ding-ga-lan/ is a mountainous province that has this picturesque view that resembles Batanes hence it is called by many as the “Batanes of the East”. But Dingalan is surely making a name for itself, proving that it more than just that.
Upon arriving in Cabanatuan proper, you can either ride a UV express or a bus which is headed to Dingalan. Travel time for UV express is approximately an hour. However, travel time may vary if you take the bus due to its numerous stopovers.
HOW TO GET THERE
*COMMUTE FROM CUBAO
Ride a bus going to Cabanatuan Terminal
Ride a van/bus going to Dingalan
These are the places we visited in Dingalan:
– Dingalan Lighthouse
– White Beach
– Tanawan view deck
– Tanawan Falls
– Matawe Bay and Tidelands
Other places of interest:
– Ibona River/Lipit Picnic Area
– Abungan Falls
– Laktas Falls
– Tabi Falls
– Iyapit Falls
– Lamao Caves
Be mesmerized by the scenic view of the Sierra Madre moutain range on the way to Dingalan.
We arrived at Dingalan town proper around 10 in the morning. Since it was a bit early for us to check in, we made use of our time to roam around the area.
We were pleasantly surprised by the tranquility of the town proper compared to others that we already have been to. The place was uncrowded knowing that they only have a small population.
Alongside, there is a strip of carinderias where we ate for the whole trip, convenient stores and a drug store. You can buy basically anything you’ll need from the town proper. Be mindful that there are no fast food restaurants in the province. This will also be the major drop off point of UV express and buses bounded back and fort to Cabanautan-Dingalan.
From here, we contracted a tricycle to bring us to the famous destinations in Dingalan.
We wouldn’t miss for ourselves this huge Dingalan signage that is situated in Barangay Tanawan.
For our next destination, Tanawan falls.
Reaching the falls takes a bit of an effort. You have to trek around 30 to 45 minutes depending on your pace.
Note: You may leave your belongings to the locals at the drop off of Tanawan before heading to the falls. You may also wash up in their houses but with a cost.
As we move on to a higher elevation, we caught a sight of the white beach along the east coast of the Pacific and captivated by the arresting colors of the ocean as well as the famous Dingalan lighthouse.
Walking on the trail of Tanawan somehow gave us chills as we approach closer to the falls that is enclosed by mountains. But for the record, it’s truly an exquisite feeling to see how beautiful nature can be.
In the midst of our trek, the cloudy sky turned into relentless rain which made the trail slippery and tougher to reach the falls.
Reaching this point will indicate that you’re halfway there. We’re not quite sure if this is what they call Tanawan view deck because basically the whole town is a view deck in itself!
Environmental fee: 20 pesos
The rain made our pace slower. But despite the weather, nothing can stop us from going on this adventure!
Upon reaching the view deck, we descended about another 10 minutes towards the little bamboo bridge going to the falls.
Only a few meters left!
After a few minutes, we reached Tanawan falls!
We were literally the first ones to reach the falls but the crowd was escalating quickly. What a bummer! Photo op wasted. HAHAHA.
Since it has been raining all day, sadly it was impossible for us to swim. The current of the water was vigorous and will just drag you down along the river.
We just maximized our time savoring this peaceful moment away from the city.
Of all the innumerable waterfalls we have encountered, this is by far the most pristine and refreshing when it comes to the quality of its waters.
Its blue green color indicates that it is well preserved by the locals.
The falls is approximately 15 ft high and 10 ft in depth.
Time to head back to the drop off point.
Before heading to our next destination, we decided to check in first at Fil Dane Inn, which is just a walking distance away from the town proper.
The Inn was nice and peaceful. The staff were friendly and very accommodating.
All of their rooms were air conditioned. We paid 1500 for this room and is good for 4 persons. For questions and reservations, visit their page on Facebook, http://facebook.com/fildaneinnph/
Moving on, for our last destination that day, Matawe bay and tidelands.
Note: Small vehicles are not recommended if you’re headed to Barangay Matawe. Since the road is rugged and not highly developed, you will have a rough time going on and off the area.
It was nice to have a moment looking at this fierce yet beautiful oceanic view from a high elevation going to Barangay Matawe.
We’re uncertain whether this is a part of Matawe Tidelands or just an open beach where you can see how rugged this coastline can be when low tide.
This surreal landscape is best to be seen before sunset.
The rocks were slippery but walking barefoot may lead you to step on sea urchins. Be careful!
We arrived at Matawe beach just a few minutes before the high tide. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to catch a glimpse of the tidelands due to the fast rise of the water.
There was nothing left to do but swim and so we did. It was really refreshing because the water was clear and very clean. We wanted to stay a little longer but since it was almost sundown, we had to leave.
We got back at Fil Dane Inn just in time for dinner. We ate at one of the carinderias and bought some essentials for the night.
The Inn also offers billiards for 150/hr.
We were hoping for a bright sunny day the day after an incessant rain. But unfortunately, the weather turned out much worse the next day.
We woke up around 6 in the morning and the rain continued to fall until we arrived at Dingalan feeder port. The port is just 10 minutes away from the town proper. There are also snorkeling rentals near the port if you would like to go diving.
Since it was raining that day, we weren’t allowed to go to the Lamao caves because of the wind and gigantic waves in the ocean making it unsafe for visitors. They said that March would be the best time to visit the caves.
Boat rates as follows.
There is no specific rate for the tour guides so it’s up to you how much you’ll give them. This is our tour guide, Ate Jackie.
Boat ride going to White Beach!
We expected more of a white sand because it is called White Beach but it turned out to be just an ordinary beach. Nothing really special. Plus, it looked so much better from afar.
This is also the jump off point going to the lighthouse. There are also cabanas where you can rent for a day ranging from 300 to 500 pesos.
Due to the inclement weather, the trail going to the lighthouse was muddy and slippery. We didn’t expect it to be that hard and time consuming. We thought that we would reach the top just about an hour or less but since it rained so hard that weekend, it was hell for us and probably the worst decision we’ve ever made.
We do not recommend going to the lighthouse when the weather is not cooperating. But if you insist, wear proper hiking attire.
Anyway, there’s no turning back. The last part of the trail requires you to hold on to a rope hand rail.
HIKE PA, ANO?
After all, it was worth it.
No one was allowed to go up the lighthouse anymore due to a crack on the stairs and the solar panels atop was damaged by past visitors. This should serve as a lesson to all the travelers out there!
Look at that view. We were at a loss for words.
Maximazing our last moments in Dingalan. Time for a quick dive.
Farewell, Dingalan. We’ll see you again soon.
4:00-7:30am – Bus ride from Cubao to Cabanatuan
8:30-10am – Van ride from Cabanatuan to Dingalan
10:00am – Arrival at Dingalan Town Proper
10:30am – I Dingalan sign
11:00-11:30am – Trike to Tanawan Falls
11:30-12:00nn – Trek to Tanawan Falls
12:00-12:30pm – Tanawan falls
12:30-1:00pm – Trek back to jump off point
1:05-1:30pm – Tricycle ride to Fil Dane Inn
1:30pm – Arrival at Fil Dane Inn
1:40pm – Check in
1:40-2:00pm – Rest
2:00-2:30pm – Lunch
4:00-4:40pm – Matawe Bay and Tidelands
4:40-5:40pm – Tricycle ride from Matawe to Fil Dane Inn
5:45am – Wake up
6:35-6:45am – Tricycle ride to Feeder Port
6:45-6:55am – Registration
7:00-7:30am – Boat ride to White Beach
7:30-8:45am – Trek to Lighthouse
8:45-9:30am – Lighthouse
9:30-11:00am – Trek down
11:00am – Back at White Beach/rest
11:30-11:45am – Boat ride
11:45-12:15pm – Swimming/snorkeling
12:15-12:30pm – Boat ride
12:30-12:45pm – Tricycle ride to Fil Dane Inn
12:45-1:30pm – Wash up and pack up
1:30pm – Check out
1:45-2:30pm – Lunch
2:40-5:00pm – Bus to Cabanatuan
5:00pm – Arrival at Cabanatuan
5:30-9:00pm – Bus to Cubao
9:30pm Arrival at Cubao
Bus fare to Cabanatuan – Php 148/head w/ student discount (x2/RT)
Van fare to Dingalan – Php 100/head
Tricycle rent for tour – Php 400 *this depends on the tricycle driver
Entrance fee Tanawan falls – Php 20.00/head
Paiwan ng gamit at the jump off point – Php 10.00/head
Fil Dane Inn – Php 1500/night, Php 500/head
Tricycle fare to Feeder Port – Php 20.00/head (x2/RT)
Lighthouse/White Beach Environmental Fee – Php 50.00/head
Boat to White Beach/Lighthouse and back – Php 800/boat, Php 267/head
Tour Guide – Php 150, Php 50/each
Bus fare to Cabanatuan – Php 70/head
TOTAL EXPENSE: Php 1, 536/head *excluding food
Watch our Dingalan video here!
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ OUR BLOG! UNTIL NEXT TIME!